Remembering Terrence Boulden, 1980-2015
Life’s visions are vanished, it’s dreams are no more.
Dear friends of my bosom, why bathed in tears?
I go to my fathers; I welcome the shore,
which crowns all my hopes, or which buries my cares.
Then farewell my dear, my lov’d daughter, Adieu!
The last pang of life is in parting from you!
Two Seraphs await me, long shrouded in death:
I will bear them your love on my last parting breath.
Last night, Virginia lost one of her truest sons. Terrence Boulden was a true Virginian, a loyal, honest and trustworthy friend – the kind of man that we should all aspire to be. Virginia, the Republican Party, and all who knew him – whether in life, in politics, or through his copious writings online – have lost something very, very special.
Terrence, 35, was a fixture in Northern Virginia Republican politics. He served as Chairman of the Prince William County Young Republicans, 11th District Representative to the Young Republican Federation of Virginia, Woodbridge District Magisterial District Chair for the Prince William County Republican Committee, was a co-founder and President of the Virginia Black Conservatives, and was former chairman of the Fairfax County Republican Committee African-American Outreach Committee. He was a past Editor-in-Chief of Virginia Virtucon, one of Virginia’s oldest and most respected conservative blogs. Every Republican candidate, statewide or in Northern Virginia, looked to Terrence for advice and insight.
I first met Terrence in 2007. We shared a mutual friend, and got to know each other through our shared activism. We talked almost every day, trading information, stories and ideas. I used to edit some of his blog posts, and he used to tell me when I was sounding like an idiot RINO.
We argued all the time. He worshipped Thomas Jefferson, who I couldn’t stand. He knew I loved Theodore Roosevelt, and the barbs we traded back and forth about our favorite Presidents was a staple of our relationship.
He could never understand how I could keep going in the face of the constant attacks from certain corners, and I could never understand how he could be such a big Prince fan. He laughed when the Redskins lost, and I laughed when his 49ers lost. When folks were writing hit pieces about me and my family, Terrence had my back, even though it got him criticized by a lot of folks he called friends. And when he was attacked by those same people, I backed him up and defended him. That’s what friends do. That’s what Terrence always did. I knew if I needed him, he’d be there, calling me Beerye, telling me he’s got my back.
But he knew politics wasn’t just about fighting. It was about ideas. Terrence was principled. He had the courage of his convictions. He stood up and fought for what he believed in, was ferociously protective of his family – especially his mother – and his friends. If I had a dollar for every time Terrence came to my defense, I could retire most of the national debt. He was always doing that for his friends, regardless of the stress and emotional toll it took on him. He was always out there, supporting his friends, pushing for conservative solutions to problems and knowing that his voice – as one of the few black conservatives in the party – was important and valuable, far more valuable than I think even he realized.
Terrence knew that politics was a full contact sport. He was a fighter. His long-term goals included running for office himself, demonstrating to the world how a hard working Republican activist could translate his ideas into action to benefit everybody. He cared. He probably cared too much, sometimes. For those who truly care, it’s hard to watch day in and day out as your friends start fighting with one another. Just a few days ago he said he wasn’t looking forward to watching another year of his friends fighting. I told him I understood that, and I didn’t want to see it either. This was a common theme between us.
A few years ago, many of us began to steel ourselves up for the possibility that TB wouldn’t be with us forever. He spent months in a coma as a result of on-going health issues. But God gave him back to us, if only for a short time, and I will always be grateful that we had those extra months with him. Losing him now, after we thought the worst was over, has been extremely difficult. I know that I, like most of our friends, was stunned when I heard the news and we all prayed that it wasn’t true.
That’s the kind of love and loyalty that TB inspired in his friends, family and colleagues. He was the kind of guy who you could always count on, and who would go the extra mile for you, for his friends, and for his candidates.
Terrence was an American success story. He may not have been rich, he may not have had powerful jobs, or served in elected office. He wasn’t a billionaire, he didn’t have ivy league degrees or fancy cars. What he had was more important – he had a family who loved him, friends who cared and would do anything for him, and he leaves behind hundreds, if not thousands, of people whose lives he touched and made better, just by him being there. As we’re all reminded every Christmas by It’s a Wonderful Life, no man is a failure who has friends. Terrence was one of the most successful men I’ve ever known.
He leaves us all today better than when he found us. He represents my ideal of what it means to be an American, a Virginian, and a Republican. It is going to be hard going through the motions over the next few weeks, as another campaign ends and more begin, without TB here to make me put it in perspective, laugh about it and not take it so seriously. I know I’m not the only one that he had this effect on.
We at Bearing Drift mourn the passing of one of our former contributors and one of our most constant friends. I know that, moving forward, I will be doing my best to live up to what TB saw in me and what he saw in our party. I will strive to be worthy and make him proud of me – and us – so that when we meet again, he’ll put a big arm around me and say “I knew you could do it.”
As we learn more, including whatever final arrangements have been made, we will pass that information along.
We’re going to miss you, TB. Rest in peace.